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A North Carolina police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man searching for help after a car accident has just been charged with voluntary manslaughter.

The victim, Jonathan Ferrell, was 24 and a former football player at FAMU. He crashed his car down an embankment about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, and then knocked on the door of a nearby residence looking for help, according to officials.

Ferrell found his way to the nearest house and urgently knocked for help.

The Charlotte Observer reports:

Ferrell apparently walked to the nearest house, about a half-mile from the accident, and was “banging on the door viciously,” Monroe said. The woman who lives there thought the man at her door was her husband coming home late from work.

But when she saw Ferrell instead, she shut the door and called police because she thought he was trying to rob her.

Officers received a call shortly after 2:30 a.m. about an attempted break-in at a residence in the 7500 block of Reedy Creek Road.

And then things got really bad.

The three officers from the Hickory Grove division who responded to the scene came across a man matching the description of the possible suspect, and they surrounded him. The man “immediately charged” at the police, Monroe said.

Officer Thornell Little unsuccessfully fired his Taser at Ferrell, who continued to run toward them, police said in a statement. Kerrick then fired several rounds at Ferrell, who was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Monroe said Ferrell was unarmed. The chief did not think he was trying to rob the woman, saying, “I don’t believe threats were made.”

The site reports:
The police investigation found “the shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive,” authorities said in a statement late Saturday. “Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”

The evidence showed that Ferrell advanced on the officer but the subsequent shooting of Ferrell was completely “excessive” and violated the law regarding voluntary manslaughter, according to police.

Officer Randall Kerrick turned himself in to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday evening and has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.


SOURCE: Charlotte Observer

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